December is recognized as Universal Human Rights Month across the planet and this is a focus of study that has been particularly evident on the Seton Hall campus over the last several decades. Promoting the study of Social Sciences in the name of Humanities has been an intellectual-centered staple of the school curriculum and examples have been preserved within our repository showing its development from founding date to the present day.
During the 1960s under the sponsorship of University President, Bishop John Dougherty, the creation of a specialized Humanistic Studies program was one of the highlights of his tenure. His efforts along with the deans and professors on campus during this time helped to enhance the learning experience with specific course offerings that allowed the student body to explore the wide-ranging accomplishments of human endeavor in a more structured manner than ever before.
The following abstract provides an overview of this seminal program during the 1969-70 academic year. “The purpose of the Office of Humanistic Studies is the development of a contemporary educational vehicle whose chief feature is to probe the humanistic dimension of knowledge and to communicate data whose significance points beyond the narrow confines of the specialist. As the occasion demands, the Office offers courses in those ‘boundary’ areas which do not fall within the competence of any given department.”
Additionally, the specific course offerings in this area included the following class titles: Humanist Dimension of the Sciences, The Phenomenon of Woman, The Contemporary Dialogue Between Christians and Marxists, The Meaning of Aspiration, Psychotheology, Perspectives in Mind Expansion, The Psychology of Creative Writing, Music in Human Experience, Religion and the American Experience, Films and Their Philosophical Implications: A Revolution in Consciousness, The Revolution of Color in the Afro-Asian World.
For those who qualified for the Humanities Honors Program, this was another high point of educational opportunity that benefited those who engaged in higher level study. This sequence included the following course titles: “The Humanities Honors Program offers the specially qualified student the opportunity to cut across the subject areas of the liberal arts curriculum and to undertake an interdepartmental program of integrated studies in the Western tradition from ancient times to the 20th century as reflected in history, literature (discursive and imaginative), and the arts. The courses are organized on the principle that some sense of the interdependence of the various human disciplines assures the most meaningful command of each of them. While the lecture method is retained to provide the students with the necessary direction, the emphasis in the program is on intensive reading, discussion, independent research, and co-related project work in the humanities.”
The course titles integrated within the Honors sequence included the following: Ancient Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Modern Studies, Non-Western Humanities, Philosophy and Drama, Contemporary Russian Culture, Literature and Psychology.
Additionally, the University has been active in the promotion of Human Rights and various statements have been drafted and issued over the the years are also retained for posterity.
The Monsignor Field Archives and Special Collections Center is the official repository for the records of the national organization that supports the United Nations, UNA-USA.
Over the past year, a student at New York University’s Archives and Public History Program, Quin de la Rosa, has been working to process the collection – organizing the contents and creating a detailed finding aid that will allow researchers from around the country to discover what materials are held here. The collection contains records from all the chapters around the country and the records of the activities of the organization itself.
Since the United States has been a strong supporter of the United Nations, the UNA-USA received significant attention from U.N. leadership, as this photograph, showing Kofi Annan, who had just been inaugurated as Secretary-General of the United Nations, meeting with UNA-USA President Bill Luers, on Feburary 17, 1999 (MSS 52, Records of the UNA-USA, Box 28, Folder 35).
The dark days of December are punctuated by the celebration of religious and cultural holidays, and festivals worldwide. At Seton Hall University there are a many ways to celebrate throughout this month. One of our most anticipated traditions is the annual Christmas tree lighting which takes place this year at 6pm on Monday, December 6th on the University Green. Christmas at The Hall includes concerts, charitable events, a cabaret and trips to Christmas markets. Check the calendar of events to see how you can participate.
The image to the left depicts the birth of Christ, celebrated each at Christmas.
This time of year is when Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated. The Jewish holiday commemorates the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire the 2nd century BCE. This year Hanukkah is celebrated November 28th through December 6th. The hanukkiah, depicted to the right, is lit nightly to celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah.
The ninth candle is known as the shamash, or helper candle, since it is used to light the other eight candles. The laws of the holiday forbid using the light of the hanukkiah for practical purposes, reserving it to celebrate the miracle.
Geeta Jayanti, the birthday of Bhagavad Gita, the sacred text of the Hindus, is celebrated this year on December 14th. It is a major festival that commemorates the preaching of Gita to Arjuna, a young warrior, and Krishna, a god acting as Arjuna’s charioteer. The image above depicts Arjuna’s moment of doubt about his role in the impending battle against adversaries who are also his cousins.
The festival is celebrated mainly in Kurukshetra, Haryana, India – a pilgrimage site believed to be the place where Krishna recited Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. Sadhus (holy men), pilgrims from across the country, and many foreigners visit Kurukshetra for Gita Jayanti.
Kwanzaa, a seven-day celebration of African American culture is observed annually from December 26 through January 1. The name Kwanzaa is taken from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” meaning first fruits. Each evening during Kwanzaa, a candle is lit on the kinara, a traditional candleholder, to honor seven principles: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith). The English-Swahili phrasebook below is open to a page with the translations for many foods that might be eaten during this time.
While this blog post is not exhaustive in scope, it is indicative of the diverse fabric of the community in which Seton Hall University resides as well as the rich heritage of our students, faculty and staff. The images above are but a small sampling of the variety of cultures, traditions and religions represented in the collections cared for by the Walsh Gallery and Special Collections at Seton Hall University. Students, faculty and researchers may make appointments to view materials. For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476
Seton Hall has traditionally been noted for its detailed liberal arts curriculum but has also hosted a number of other major programs across the academic spectrum. Within the natural sciences, the field of Chemistry has been an integral part of the educational offerings for the student body. This year marks the 160th anniversary of the first documented course offered at Seton Hall College eventually led to increased expansion to a full-fledged program known as the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the present time.
The study of Chemistry by general definition found in various primers definition chain of qualities involved with this natural science focuses primarily on the investigation of the properties and behavior connected to matter. This includes the deeper study of elements and compounds involving the reactive behavior of atoms, ions, and molecules in particular.
During the first years of Seton Hall on the South Orange campus, the Chemistry class option was listed within the earliest Seton Hall College Catalog(ue)s/Bulletins under the “Mathematical Course” banner was by all indicators a required course. Between the 1860s-90s, an introductory Chemistry class was offered to enrolled students during the First Term of the Sophomore year at the school and held on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays during a particular semester. The first text-books used included popular works for their time: “First Principles of Chemistry, For the Use of Colleges and Schools,” by Benjamin Silliman (Philadelphia: T. Bliss & Co., 1866) and later, A Class-Book of Chemistry: On the Basis of the New System, by Edward Livingston Youmans (New York: Appleton, 1857) as foundational works to this discipline.
Moving into the twentieth century, a more specific insight to Chemistry and its place in the Setonia curriculum can be gleaned from the following description of study from the pages of the Seton Hall College Catalogue of 1921-22. This passage from one hundred years ago provides a detailed look at what was involved in the requirements associated with class participation at that time . . .
“SCIENCE. CHEMISTRY – The aims of the course are: (1) to offer all students an opportunity to become acquainted with the facts of modern chemistry and the special forms of reasoning and method applied to those practical sciences which have their basis in chemistry; (2) to fill out the general training of undergraduates; and (3) to prepare the student for later advanced work in the sciences. Special stress is therefore laid on thoroughness of preparation, and the symmetrical development of the student’s knowledge. The elements of inorganic chemistry are taught by lectures, laboratory illustrations nad experiments, and recitations from notes and from a general text-book. Through the scope of the course is essentially fitted to the purposes in view, yet the method of treatment, particularly in the matter of lecture presentation, offers many special advantages to the student. He must learn how to synopsize and generalize a lecture, he must know how to trace its drift and link its lessons with the matter already learned, ad must see its import, as well, in relation to the work yet to be done. The notebook counts for examination results, and a pass-mark cannot be won without it. The course occupies the entire Sophomore year. Its study is obligatory on all B Sc. degree students and for such others as can offer for it no satisfactory equivalent . . . The following is a brief outline of the course: Oxygen; hydrogen; water and hydrogen dioxide; the atomic theory; molecular and atomic wights; chemical calculations; nitrogen; the atmosphere; solutions; acids; bases; salts; neutralization; valence; compounds of nitrogen; sulphur and its compounds; the periodic law; the chlorine group. Carbon and its simpler compounds; flames the phosphorus group; silicon; titanium; baron; the metals; the alkaline-earth group; copper; mercury; silver; tin and lead; manganese; gold and the platinum group; some simpler organic compounds.”
Moving forward over the last several decades, scores of Setonia students have either majored in Chemistry or taken a version as an elective or in some other context. Among the lasting testament to this study are lasting course descriptions, papers, and other landmarks across campus. This includes McNulty Hall (now known as the Science Center) featuring the legendary “Atom Wall” relief built during the 1950s has been the host to countless lectures and lab experiments by faculty and students alike to further the knowledge of Chemistry-centered inquiry.
A continuum of supporting the need and advance of those wishing to explore advanced study expanded in large measure when Chemistry became the first University-wide doctoral program established by University during the mid-1960s. A number of Master’s Theses were produced by 1964 and the first PhD degrees earned that year led to published Dissertations released the following year. Specific examples can be found within the Seton Hall University Libraries Catalog by searching via the following link – https://library.shu.edu/library/books within the search term: “Chemistry” and choosing to search within the category of: “Thesis, Dissertation” resources and focusing upon a specific year or year-range.
Renovations to the Science Center, publications arising from Chemistry faculty, and other developments in the new Millennium have provided a success story for those connected to the study and success of this field of endeavor. In documenting the trajectory and evolution of the history within the holdings found at the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center there are various resources including various articles in school publications, vertical file content, prospectus booklets, departmental notes along with various faculty notes, and a specific historical textbook collection that shows examples of college-level print aids published mainly from the 1920s-70s. Our Rare Book holdings also contain centuries-old titles and have been consulted by the Seton Hall community over the years including some of the oldest titles found in our catalog . . .
Historical Text-Books and Rare Book classified Chemistry works can be found by limiting your search to “Archives and Special Collections” when locating the following site – https://library.shu.edu/library/books Additional resources both historical and contemporary can be found by searching for wider Chemistry resources via the University Libraries Homepage – https://library.shu.edu/home and Chemistry-based Library Guide constructed by Dr. Lisa Rose-Wiles found here – https://library.shu.edu/chemistry
For more specific information on Chemistry and Natural Science-centered resources and any other aspect of University History and/or Rare Books we are glad to assist your research efforts. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.
Did you know that Seton Hall’s rare book collection contains poetry by Native American authors? There is an inscribed copy of one of the early books of the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, Joy Harjo, in Walsh Library’s Rare Book collection. The inscription reads “for Penny and Bill, in strength and in beauty.” This refers to William Higginson and his wife, who founded From Here Press in Patterson, New Jersey. Higginson, a specialist in haiku, donated his incredible collection of poetry books to Seton Hall in 2013.
An alto saxophonist and artist as well as poet, Harjo breaks boundaries in many aspects of her work. Influenced by jazz and blues as well as by her Cree heritage and poetic predecessors such as Audre Lorde, Harjo’s poetry reflects on loss, survival, and the limitations of language itself.
November 1 is the annual celebration of All Saints Day which honors all Catholic saints, particularly those with no special feast day of their own. All Saints Day is celebrated worldwide by Roman Catholics as well as other Christian denominations. A feast day commemorates a saint or saints who are remembered on their individual feast days with special services and prayers. Certain feast days include public celebrations and processions. Some saints are celebrated internationally, while others are honored regionally or locally.
All Saints Day was first observed under Pope Boniface IV on May 1, 609 when he dedicated Rome’s Pantheon to the Virgin Mary and the Martyrs. Pope Boniface also instituted All Souls Day, an additional day of prayer and remembrance for the souls of those who have died. Celebrated on November 2, it immediately follows All Saints Day. In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III moved the All Saints Day observance to November 1, though celebrations were local to Rome. Under Pope Gregory IV, All Saints Day became an official worldwide observance for the entirety of the church.
Prior to the 10th century, there was no formalized process for identifying and sanctifying saints. This was addressed by Pope John XV who defined the parameters for sainthood. Previous to Pope John XV, sainthood was often attained through popular public opinion. Today, there are more than 10,000 recognized saints. The Catholic Online website has a comprehensive list of saints, angels and feast days – in addition to a wealth of other Catholic resources. It will give you a sense of the many saints venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, and it is fun to browse. For instance, did you know Saint Bernardino is the patron saint of advertising and communications? Or that Saint Januarius is the patron saint of blood banks, and in Naples, also volcanoes? Seton Hall University’s Walsh Gallery and Archives and Special Collections have a significant number of collections that featuring various Catholic saints. In honor of All Saints Day, we have assembled these images of art and artifacts featuring those who have been canonized.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the University’s namesake, is the patron saint of Catholic schools, widows, and seafarers. She is also the aunt of the university’s founder, The Most Reverend, James Roosevelt Bayley. This image of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is from a medal designed for the Society of the Preservation of Setonia. This design was made in advance of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s canonization which occurred in 1975. This medal design, in addition to numerous other artifacts that illuminate the life and work of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton are currently on display in the Walsh Gallery exhibition “The Treasures of Seton Hall University.” Her feast day is January 4.
Saint Pope John XXIII is one of the most popular popes in the Roman Catholic Church. He ushered in a new era by convening the Second Vatican Council (1962 – 1965), popularly known as Vatican II. This council resulted in sweeping changes throughout the church to address the modern era. Canonized by Pope Francis in April 2014, Saint Pope John XXIII’s feast day is October 11. He is the patron saint of Papal delegates, the Patriarchy of Venice and the Second Vatican Council. Saint John XXIII was also the pope that beatified Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Beatification, a precursor to canonization or sainthood, is a declaration of blessedness.
Saint Pope Paul VI was the 262nd pope of the Roman Catholic Church, succeeding John XXIII as pope. He also presided over Vatican II, closing the session in 1965 which resulted in numerous church reforms including the improvement of relations with the Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches. Saint Pope Paul VI canonized Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in 1975. He was in turn beatified and canonized by Pope Francis in 2014 and 2018, respectively. His feast day is May 29th.
Saint Martín de Porres (1579 – 1639), a Peruvian born saint ,was associated with the Dominican Order. He was known for caring for the sick, was trained in the healing arts and was also barber. Though he was devoted to the church, at that time his lineage prevented him from taking his vows as the son of an unmarried Spanish nobleman and a mother that was a freed slave of African and Native descent. Like Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, he founded orphanages and was devoted to the cause of education. He is the patron saint of mixed race people, public health workers, public schools, public education, the poor, Peru, innkeepers and barbers as well as lottery winners, racial harmony and social justice. Today, his name graces numerous schools throughout the United States as well as a Catholic University in Lima, Peru.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 – 1680), whose feast day falls on July 14th, is the first Native American saint recognized by the Catholic Church. A layperson of Algonquin-Mohawk heritage, she was born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon which sits on the banks of New York States’ Mohawk River. She was the daughter of Kenneronkwa, a Mohawk chief, and Kahenta, an Algonquin woman who had been captured in a raid, then taken into the Mohawk tribe. In Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s time, the Mohawks had considerable contact with other tribes, as well as European trappers, traders and missionaries. A resulting outbreak of smallpox took the lives of the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s parents and brother. She survived, but with lasting health implications. At the age of 18, after meeting a Jesuit priest, she converted to Catholicism, dying just a few short years later at the age of 24. She was beatified in 1980 by Pope John Paul II, and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica October 21, 2012. Saint Kateri Tekakwitha is the patron saint of the environment, ecology, those who have lost their parents, people in exile and Native Americans.
A mass in honor of All Saints Day will be held at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at Seton Hall University at 11am on November 1.
The images and materials shown here are but a small part of the vast patrimony available to students, faculty and researchers. For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476
November Eve, or Samhain, celebrates the Moon, the end of the harvest season, and the beginning of winter. And like other holidays that celebrate the change of the seasons with great bonfires, fairs, and festivals, so does November Eve.
Like many Celtic holidays have a Christian counterpart celebrated on or around the same day, so does November Eve. It is known as All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. All Saints’ Day is a day to celebrate all saints known and unknown while All Souls’ Day is to remember all others that have passed on. Typically, families will visit cemeteries and graves, bringing flowers, candles and prayers or blessings. Just like Halloween and the Day of the Dead, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day remember the dead.
And like Halloween and the Day of the Dead, November Eve is the “one night of the year when the dead can leave their graves and dance in the moonlight on the hill” (Wilde, 80). However, it is said “mortals should stay at home and never dare to look on them” (Wilde, 80).
One such gives caution, states:
“It is esteemed a very wrong thing amongst the islanders to be about on November Eve, minding any business, for the fairies have their flitting then, and do not like to be seen or watched; and all the spirits come to meet them and help them. But mortal people should keep at home, or they will suffer for it; for the souls of the dead have power over all things on that one night of the year; and they hold a festival with the fairies, and drink red wine from the fairy cups, and dance to fairy music till the moon goes down” (Wilde, 78).
Being the 21st century staying home no longer applies! Kids, after carving their Jack-O’-the-Lantern into a frightful face, dress up to trick-or-treat and adults, also in costume, go off to parties to celebrate and bob for apples. Ever wonder how the Jack-O’-the-Lantern came to be? Or how apples and Halloween became a famous couple?
An Irish tale from Irish Fireside Stories contains an explanation for the Legend of the Jack o the Lantern. After having been excluded from heaven and having tricked the devil making Hell refuse to take him, it was decreed that Jack would walk the Earth with a lantern to light him on his nightly way until Judgement Day.
As for apples and Halloween, an old Celtic ritual has an explanation:
“The first day of November was dedicated to the spirit of fruits and seeds, from which, no doubt, originated the custom of eating nuts and apples on Hallow Eve. It was called La-mas-abhal, the day of apple fruit. This word, pronounced Lamabhool, was corrupted by English settlers into lamb’swool, which name was given to a drink made of apples, sugar and ale. So the apples are still eaten on All-Hallow’s Eve by the merry company in the farmhouse kitchen in Ireland, and the young Irish girls will peel one carefully, taking care to keep the skin whole, which, when cast over the shoulder upon the floor, will fall into the form of the initial letter of her future husband’s name. Or she will take nuts piled so plentifully upon the table and burn them on the grate-bar or the hearth and try to read her future in their ashes, while her companions are setting nuts in pairs together in the same place, naming them carefully, and watching to see whether they will burn pleasantly together or jump apart” (Blennerhassett, 233-234).
The article continues to mention further steps to be taken over the course of finding out information about one’s future husband and the role of apples in this process but as with all love fortune telling, spells, and the like, it is a lengthy process that requires far too much effort and too much typing for one blog post on a day of festivities. So, I’ll leave it here and wish you all a Happy Halloween!
Good luck bobbing for apples! And remember all spells cast on November Eve come true.
Blennerhassett, Sarah (1899 November). All-Hallow’s Eve. The Gael.
Wilde, & Wilde, W. R. (1919). Ancient legends, mystic charms & superstitions of ireland : with sketches of the irish past. Chatto & Windus.
For the online version, click here. Please note they may not be exactly the same.
Zachary Pelli is the Digital Collections Infrastructure Developer for Walsh Library. He ensures all the Library’s digital projects, from interactive exhibits in Special Collections and the Gallery to remote reference appointments for the liaison librarians, operate smoothly. Additionally, he maintains open source software systems used by the library, giving Zach an opportunity to build new tools as digital library practices evolve. You may also recognize his work from the library website (https://library.shu.edu/home), which he created.
How long have you been working at the library?
Just over 5 years.
What was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?
Currently binging The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson (currently halfway through Words of Radiance). I also listen to many podcasts.
Print book or ebook?
Audiobook or podcast. I’m a terribly slow reader.
What is the best way to rest / decompress?
Lift heavy weights or go for a run with a (non-political) podcast. I also enjoy PC gaming when I find the time.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I am a tribal citizen of Muscogee Nation. There’s not many of us in NJ!
The nursing profession has always been among the most respected careers in light of their selfless dedication to the health and welfare of patients in their care. October 13th has been designated “National Emergency Room Nurses Day” throughout the United States in honor of those who work in situations that require added patience and attention to those in need. Seton Hall has been a proud training ground for many nurses who have chosen to serve society upon graduation from the school.
Seton Hall established its College of Nursing in 1940 and from the starting Points of Purpose included the following objectives . . .
The aim of the School of Nursing Education of Seton Hall College is to provide educational opportunities leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing education for the following types of students:
Graduate nurses who wish to prepare for positions as teachers, supervisors and administrators in schools of nursing and hospitals.
Nurses particularly interested in Public Health Service.
Properly qualified high school graduates who wish to entre the nursing profession.
Hospital administrators or those preparing for such positions.
From that point forward quality instruction by dedicated professionals too numerous to name here, but whose names and course information can be found within our holdings. Presently, we have been working with a valued Nursing History Committee which has provided incredible support to the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center over the last few years. This includes Professor Jane Dellert, Professor Eileen Donnelly, Professor Ann Elkas, Professor Gloria Essoka, Professor Margaret Howard, Professor Carolyn Rummel, Professor Mary Ann Scharf, and Professor Mary Ann Whiteman in particular.
Each of these scholars has also collaborated to the creation and content management associated with a special Research Guide dedicated to the History of the Nursing Program at Seton Hall University that can be accessed via the following link . . .
Beyond an educated choice of academic specializations, the selection of a nickname, mascot, school colors, special cheers, and other unique campus traditions have long been one of the most important legacies that any college or university can make to universally celebrate their respective athletic teams in particular while honoring their student, alumni, and fan base by extension. On a competitive level sports-wise, there have been an abundance of Tigers, Bulldogs, Lions, Bears, and other wildlife for example in order to show team pride and hopefully inspire fear in opponents. However, other appellations have a logical link to history including such local models as the “Queensmen” of Rutgers College (founded in 1766 as Queen’s College) and the “Vikings” of Upsala (established in 1893 by Swedish educators who noted the nickname was synonymous with Scandinavian lore). Beyond what their opponents were formulating when it came to their own respective mascot preferences, Seton Hall had its own road to image-based immortality.
Throughout its storied history, the hues of “White and Blue” have always been synonymous with Seton Hall. These colors were adopted during the nineteenth century and likely inspired by Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley whose family crest features a series of white stars affixed to a cobalt field. Additionally, Blue is associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of the early patronesses of the school and associated with finding truth while White is the symbol of purity, light, and saints who were not martyred (although Elizabeth Ann Seton was not canonized until 1975, she did not achieve martyrdom)
When it came to seminal nicknames at Seton Hall during the years prior to the celebration of its Diamond Jubilee, intercollegiate squads used the sobriquet – “White and Blue” as an all-purpose attribution. Additional adjectives included “The Villagers,” “Alerts,” and the “Quick Step Nine” (for Baseball Nines) have also been documented in print through Setonia-produced imprints (including the title of the School Annual or Yearbook from 1924-42) and external media sources alike. This legacy still lives on in the popular refrain – “Fight, Fight, Fight for the Blue and White . . . Onward to Victory!” Presumably this “mascot” and choice of talisman would have continued further, had it not been for one fateful day on a New England Baseball Field nine decades ago
The Pirates are Born
Within the aftermath of the Seton Hall-Holy Cross Baseball Game held on April 24, 1931 in Worcester, Massachusetts, the visiting team from New Jersey somewhat miraculously came from behind after experiencing a five-run deficit through the stringing together a combination of walks, hits, and errors that helped the “White & Blue” Nine emerge victorious by a final score of 11-10. This outcome prompted a Newark News sportswriter to exclaim, “That Seton Hall team is a gang of Pirates! . . . ,” which applied to the aggressive play and the squad stealing a victory (or a “treasured” result if you will) from the Crusader Nine. Upon hearing of this post-game proclamation within their locker room, the Seton Hall squad decided that their newfound name was both fitting and fashionable, and they would return to South Orange and be known as the Pirates thereafter.
It has been oft-wondered why the writer used the term “Pirates” instead of something else? Upon reflection this makes sense as the noun “Pirate” has been defined according to the Cambridge University Dictionary as one who: “. . . sails on the sea and attacks and steals from other ships.” Combine the formal definition taken from a journalist with the prevalence of Pirate imagery in popular culture including the long-standing renown of such novels as: The Pirate, by Sir Walter Scott (1821); “Long John Silver” a major figure in Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883); “Captain Hook” from Neverland, one of the main protagonists from the book – Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie (1904). Book covers/jackets, early cinema, and literary descriptions set the image of English launched a “Jolly Roger” Pirate model (with large, plumed hat featuring a decorative “Skull and Cross Bones” motif, eye patch, peg leg, hook hand, etc.) who sailed the Caribbean during the eighteenth-mid-nineteenth century seas.
In 1931, the book entitled: Yankee Ships in Pirate Waters by Rupert Sargent Holland and the daily comic strip, Terry and the Pirates by Milton Caniff helped to reinforce the “swashbuckling” and exciting aspects of Piracy in a fictional sense. On the sports-front, that same year the Pittsburgh Pirates, a major league club was celebrating a half century of existence and their third decade in the National League. They were known as frequent visitors to the Newark-area to play such local teams as the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants in regular series during that era. Thus, “Pirates” already had a wider appeal throughout popular society and the sports world alike.
The first edition of The Setonian (Student Newspaper) after the Holy Cross contest resulted in the first public pronouncement of this new nickname adoption. The Reverend Thomas J. Gilhooly (then a student in 1931) wrote a poetic verse in tribute of this new and figurative era in Seton Hall Athletics History . . .
“THE PIRATES – Our teams are known as Pirates, / In the world where sport holds sway; / And like their honored forbears, / Nothing stands in their way. / On the football field, the Pirates / Fight for every gain; / And though they do not always win, / The enemy earns the game. / In the realm of basketball, / The Pirates stand supreme; For her is their initial charge, / Their booty . . . so it seems. / Then baseball calls them to the helm, / And bold and brave they stand; / Now they justify their name, / They are heroes of the land. / So onward, ye brave Pirates. / On, on to worlds of crowns; / Onward to “runs” and “baskets”, / Onward to many “touchdowns.” / on, onward to greater heights, / In the world where sports holds sway; / And where your honored forbears, / Pridefully bless your day.”
Despite an initially warm and exciting reception, somewhat curiously, the use of the “Pirate” nickname in print did not have wider usage or uniform approval during the remainder of the 1930s and into the 1940s. Interestingly, the “Pirate” term was used conservatively beforehand especially in print as the “White and Blue” and the unofficial and colloquial – “Setonians,” “South Orangers,” and even “South Orange Lads,” were typically used as an alternative term within some press circles.
Conceivably the violent and illegal nature associated with real-life “Pirates” went against Catholic teaching and moral sensibilities, but for the sake of intercollegiate competition having a fearsome nickname makes a team appear more formidable, but all in the spirit of competitive sportsmanship. The question of change came in 1936, when sports scribes from The Setonian made their own attempt to create a distinctive nickname for the Seton Hall Five and every other sports team to supersede the “Pirates” for something more benign. They came up with the “Kerryblues” (the “Kerry” is a bluish furry dog noted for its fighting instincts and “Blues” for the school color), but this particular moniker never stuck, and the “Pirates” have endured and by the 1970s had adopted an alternative and rarely used nickname of the “Buccaneers” or “Buccettes” for Women’s sports teams. And would be used conservatively for a few more years.
However, it would not be until the post-World War II-era when the “Pirates” brand came into greater vogue. This explosion which began in earnest from the early 1950s forward was fueled by the success of each Seton Hall Athletic squad to compete over the last half century plus whether it be on the Basketball or Volleyball Court, Baseball Diamond, Soccer Field, Running Track, Golf Course, or any other venue where Seton Hall squads have competed. Additionally, there is no aspect of school life that has been left untouched by some aspect of a “Pirate” allegory. Whether it be figurative or visual, the proliferation of Pirate references by word, print, and in logo form that is associated with Setonia has not only become regionally recognized, but nationally as well. This has also coincided with the wide-spread growth of sports marketing along with a receptive and passionate student body, alumni, and wide-spread fan base that choose to identify as Pirate Fans.
Additional “Pirate” Historical Sightings and Research Opportunities
Documentation shows that not only athletic teams really ran with the nickname (and the Seton Hall Prep School by extension adopted the nickname as well) The student body also began to incorporate popular Pirate-centered imagery into their activities. As noted above, the renaming of the Student Annual (Yearbook) first known as the “White and Blue” was later changed to “The Galleon” (for one year in 1940) and for good from 1947-2006 when it ceased publication . . .
As archival documentation shows, other examples go beyond Athletic Team representation alone to exhibit how the administration and all parts of the University adopted the nickname to coincide with various project designations and publication titles including the aforementioned Galleon (a term for a Pirate Ship), there are others like “Pirate Plank” (as in “Walking The . . . “ as a form of punishment, “Pirate Treasure” (the typical objective that Pirates sought), in other words from 1931 to the present-day, all aspects of University life have been touched by some degree of “Pirate” identification in some way either by exposure, extension, usage, naming opportunities, cheering, school spirit, along with other applications or allegories.
Seton Hall University looks to navigate forward with the “Pirate” as its mascot now and well past its ninetieth anniversary. Many more “ahoys” will be heard on campus and beyond when it comes to praising Seton Hall in the following traditional manner . . . “Go Pirates!”
For more information on Seton Hall traditions and other aspects of school history please contact the University Archives by e-mail: email@example.com or by phone at: (973) 275-2378.